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Posts Tagged ‘Mary Magdalene’


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Pietro Perugino: Mary Magdalene

John 20:1-18: Glory XII – Healing

Friday, July 29, 2022

Adapted from a reflection written on August 9, 2007 and posted today as a message about God’s glory, an experience offered to each of us.

Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

The love between Jesus and his disciples is palpable, and when Jesus speaks to the Magdalene in verse 20:16, it is clear that this man had a very human relationship with the friends who surround himself.  And it is this same relationship that is offered to us, a relationship of healing love, truth and light. This is why it is so important for us to surround ourselves with people who will nurture the growth of Jesus’ truth and light and life, people who speak with their ears and live with their hearts, people who touch one another in the manner that Christ touched his followers, people who heal.

Today’s lesson on Glory: As we explore the varying versions of the importance of Mary Magdalene in the life of Jesus and the early church, we find that this young woman calls to each of us today by her example of steadfast love and witness. 

We are all called to be healers to one another; and as adopted sisters and brothers of Christ we have the power to heal one another not only in a medical way but emotionally and spiritually as well.  When we listen for God’s Word to speak, when we exercise patience and persistence, when we live out our faith in God, our hope in Christ and our love in the Spirit, we meet Christ. We heal and we are healed.

And so we pray, as Mary Magdalene may have prayed . . .

Precious God, keep me mindful of this your promise, to set us prisoners free from all that binds us, to raise us to the great hope you have placed in us, to send your Spirit into our temples to abide with us forever.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


For more about Mary Magdalene, and for insight into her Gospel, click on the image or visit: https://parabola.org/2015/01/29/the-gospel-of-mary-magdalene/

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John 20: Glory, Part XI – Emptinessmiracles-happen

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Knowing that through humility, emptiness, and service, our journey leads us more quickly to the kingdom of God we seek.

Today’s lesson on Glory: Mary Magdalene and the other apostles discover an empty tomb and at first believe that Jesus has left them behind. Through many “wonders and signs,” Jesus assures them of his very real presence.

Each Easter we spend time with this chapter of John’s Gospel, reliving the passage Jesus’ followers make from emptiness to fulfillment. It is very like the same passage we make each time we traverse a difficult patch of our lives. We might re-read these verses when we find ourselves in the emptiness of betrayal, denial or abandonment. They hold stories we will want to re-live and re-tell.

mary-magdaleneThe Empty TombMary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. We might better manage our disappointments, fears and troubles if we remember that fulfillment follows this emptiness.

The Appearance to Mary of MagdalaMary stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?  We might better experience peace for the hatred we encounter in the world if we leave ourselves open to the visits of angels.

The Appearance to the Disciples On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, in fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you”. We might better discover unity in our divisions if we look for Christ who is always in our midst.

doubtiing thomas

Caravaggio: Doubting Thomas

ThomasThomas was not with them when Jesus came and so he said to the disciples, I will not believe”. Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you”. Thomas said, “My Lord and my God!” We might better understand our role as branch to Jesus’ vine if we accept Jesus’ love with humility.

Signs and WondersNow Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name. We might better hold firm in our love of Christ if we humble ourselves before the many signs and wonders we experience in our lives.


We might compare varying versions of John 20 and connect these stories to the hills in valleys in our own lives. Search this blog for reflections from John 20 and re-think the Easter miracle. 

Images from: http://thekingscorneratctk.blogspot.com/2015/04/recognizing-jesus.html and https://theultimatefundraiser.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/make-miracles-happen-with-kapiolani-medical-center-childrens-miracle-network/ and http://womenofchristianity.com/bible-women/mary-magdalene/

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Mark 16: Obeying Fear

Annibale Carracci: The Dead Christ Mourned by the Three Marys

Annibale Carracci: The Dead Christ Mourned by the Three Marys

Friday, March 25, 2015

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James and John, and Salome bought spices so that they might go anoint Jesus . . . Then they went out and fled from the tomb, seized with trembling and bewilderment. They said nothing to anyone for they were afraid . . .

In this ending of Mark’s Gospel, Jesus’ followers obey their fear. Our Lenten journey brings us the opportunity to examine our own temptation to obey our fears rather than trust the Easter miracle.

When he had risen, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene . . . when they heard he was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe . . . After this he appeared in another form to two or three of them walking along on their way to the country. They returned and told the others; but they did not believe them . . . Later, as the eleven were at the table, as the eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised.

In this ending of Mark’s Gospel, we see Jesus’ love overcome his followers’ distress. Our Lenten journey brings us the opportunity to believe the resurrection story and follow Christ.

boat-on-the-seashoreGod says: If you read my scripture carefully you will see how many times these sacred writers record my assurance to you that you need not be afraid. Spend time with my servant Mark today and allow my grace to fill you. Read the end of his story with its double ending and examine your own doubts and fears. Allow my story to sink into your bones and feel the promise I offer you. My love does not fail. My promise remains for eternity. Rather than obeying your fears, bring them to me . . . for I will still your uneasy heart.


Using the scripture link, study the various versions of Mark’s Chapter 16, and decide to put away your fears.

Carracci image from: http://www.jesus-story.net/painting_magdalene.htm

Boat image from: https://highwidhim.wordpress.com/tag/insult/

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empty tomb 2Thursday, April 29, 2021

Rolling Back the Stone

In Mark’s Gospel it is Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome who bring spices to anoint the dead body as they discuss how they will find help to roll back the heavy stone. Their concern shifts to another matter when they see that the tomb stands open . . . and empty. When they enter the tomb the angel, a young man clothed in a white robe, says to them, “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised and he is not here”. Despite these words, Mark tells us, they were afraid. (Mark 16)

If we spend time today with this and the other resurrection stories (Matthew 26, Luke 24, and John 20) we can compare our own Easter experience to the one recorded here for us. As we reflect, let us consider: How do we react when we discover that the stone has already been moved from the tomb? How do we share this experience of the empty burial place? How do we respond to the words that we need not be afraid?

Tomorrow, the story as told by Luke.


Image from: http://www.livingwithfaith.org/blog/who-was-the-other-mary-at-the-tomb

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empty tombWednesday, April 28, 2021

In the Gospel of Matthew, we read the description of an angel descending with the rumble of an earthquake as Mary Magdalene “and the other Mary” approach the tomb. The women are frightened and the guards “were shaken with fear of him and became like dead men”.

The angel utters the amazing words: Do not be afraid. He is not here. He is risen and gone to Galilee before you.

The women quickly leave the tomb and encounter the risen Christ on their way to deliver the surprising, but wonderful news to the other disciples. The words of peace are repeated: Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee. The guards accept a bribe and circulate the story of how Jesus’ followers stole the prophet’s body. (Matthew 28)

If we spend time today with this and the other three resurrection stories (Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20) we can compare our own Easter experience to the one recorded for us. As we reflect, let us consider: How do we approach the tomb we believe to be empty? Who greets us? How do we react to these words?  How do we share this story of good news with others?

Tomorrow, the story as told by Mark.


Image from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nZuhnTzJrE

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magdalene weeping at tombFriday, April 23, 2021

John 20:14-18

Weeping

There are many times in our lives when we do not recognize the Christ who works, kneels or plays beside us. We believe ourselves alone or abandoned. We find that we are overwhelmed with work or emotion. We look for a loved one, friend or colleague who will fill the emptiness.  We throw ourselves into play or work, and all the while we overlook the gentle leader who stands waiting before us, calling our name.

Mary Magdalene works and lives with Jesus for several years and yet she mistakes him for the gardener. Let us consider if or how, when or why we look past Jesus when he stands ready to help us. And let us determine to step into the newness and freedom Christ gives us today.

Enter the words Why are you Weeping into the blog search bar and explore. 


A re-post from Easter Tuesday 2014.

Image from: http://seedsoflifesomethingthatmatters.wordpress.com/tag/mary-magdalene/

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Thursday, April 2, 2020

John 20:14-18

At the empty tomb: Why are you weeping?

Mary turned and saw Jesus there, but she did not know it was Jesus.  Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?”  She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him”.

When life presents us with circumstances that confuse our senses, how do we bring reality into focus?  What promises do we make; what vows do we forswear?

When family or friends hurt or disappoint us, how do we recover?  To what lengths do we go?  What bridges do we build?

When we suffer a loss that is too great to handle, how do we move forward?  What do we expect? What do we hope?

Mary Magdalene’s sorrow and love are evident in this brief exchange. So churned by emotion that she does not recognize the Teacher, she speaks to a man she takes for a stranger and asks for his help.  No matter the consequence, no matter the danger, she is more determined than ever to at least bring proper respect to Jesus’ body.  Tears cloud her eyes as she waits for an answer, and then . . .

“Mary!” Jesus says to her.  In that instant Mary hears the familiar call . . . and she feels, more than sees, the Christ standing before her.

“I have not yet ascended to the Father,” Jesus tells her, “But go to my brothers and sisters and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God”.

Ven der Weyden: Mary Magdalene

Ven der Weyden: Mary Magdalene

In this quick conversation Jesus and Mary have said all they need say to one another.  She is distressed.  He wants to calm her fear.  She is distraught.  He wants to sooth her too-jangled nerves.  She needs more strength than she can muster on her own.  He wants to give her his broad shoulders that carry the heaviest of yokes.  She is exhausted with grief and he has paused in this most important of journeys to stay a moment with her because he sees that she needs him.

She asks . . . he gives . . . generously.

What does Jesus tell us when we call on him in our Magdalene moments?

Jesus tells us that all is well. He explains that God has the situation in hand.  God his Father, God our Father.  Jesus also wants the word to go beyond just him and the Magdalene, beyond just you and me.  Jesus wants the world to know that he has not abandoned us.  He wants each of us to know that he is aware of what is happening at every moment in our lives.  Jesus wants to take each of us with him to the Father.

Why are you weeping? Jesus asks.  Let us be honest and tell Jesus all.

Tomorrow, the appearance to the disciples . . .


A re-post from Holy Week 2013.

Images from: https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/rogier-van-der-weyden-the-magdalen-reading and https://stillblondeafteralltheseyears.com/the-empty-tomb-master-sculpture-of-mary-magdalene/

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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

John 20:11-13

Mary Magdalene cave[1]At the empty tomb: Where the body had been . . .

Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping.  And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been.

When life presents us with circumstances that confuse our senses, how do we bring reality into focus?  What strategies do we employ; what philosophy do we invoke?

When family or friends hurt or disappoint us, how do we recover?  How do we regain our sense of well-being or at least regain our footing?

When we suffer a loss that is too great to handle, how do we move forward?  To whom or to what do we turn?

It is likely that Mary Magdalene has been anxious for weeks as she followed Jesus in his preamble to death.  She has served him, listened to him, talking with him and sat with him.  She must have sensed that their lives would change inexplicably and forever.  As events have unfolded she has winced with every insult, died a small death with every curse, and somehow handled the gnawing dread that all was going horribly wrong . . . yet the Teacher had remained so calm, so focused, so compassionate . . . and so determined.

What were the conversations among the women that took place on that Sabbath that bridged Good Friday and Easter Sunday?  What had they discussed?  Did they unravel the horror they had witnessed?  It is likely they had tried to prepare themselves, but this . . . this disappearance . . . this mysterious end was more than she could take in.  Had someone taken the body away?  How deep was the hatred against the Teacher?  How narrow were the minds of Jesus’ single-minded persecutors?  And now . . . was she really seeing two angels seated calmly in the tomb?

One at the foot.  One at the head.  Exactly where the body had been.  She knows she will remember this detail forever. She knows she is not mistaken.  This is the tomb.  That is where the body lay.  What does this mean?  Who are these creatures and what have they come to tell her?  Suddenly a new fear explodes within. Will she be able to bear any more bad news?  Will they know where Jesus’ body has been taken?  What have these creatures come to tell her and why do they sit so tranquilly?

Gian Girolamo Savoldo: Mary Magdalene Approaching the Tomb

Gian Girolamo Savoldo: Mary Magdalene Approaching the Tomb

Suddenly one of them speaks – asks a question, actually – and she realizes that the voice is consoling and almost sweet; yet strong and steady.  Why are you weeping?” 

No, this unearthly creature does not understand.  Another hope dies as she attempts to explain: “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they have laid him”.

It is too much to bear and so she turns away, crying openly now that she has been forced to put into words her greatest fear: She had reconciled herself to having lost Jesus in life, and now she must deal with losing him in death.  She will not even have a grave she can visit and remember . . .

Mary gathers herself as she has done so often in her life.  She turns . . .

Tomorrow, the continuing reflection at the empty tomb . . .


Images from: http://metanoia-mrc.blogspot.com/2011_04_01_archive.html and https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/giovanni-girolamo-savoldo-mary-magdalene

A re-post from Easter Week 2013.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2013

John 20:1-10

open-tomb[1]And he saw and believed . . .

As we continue our journey through a pandemic, we visit Easter Week post reflections from 2013. God guides and protects. Christs visits and heals. The Spirit comforts and abides.  

The details that appear so simply in John’s accounting of the open tomb call us into the scene.  We are invited to notice small, tangible points that tell the story so well that none have since forgotten it.

Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark . . . She must have fretted most of the night, unable to sleep, anxious to return to the place where his body was laid.  We follow her down into the abandoned quarry that now serves as a cemetery and we see that the open tomb, the heavy stone moved, no soldiers and no body.  Even in the darkness Mary knows that Jesus has gone.  She senses, more than sees, that he has gone. But where?

So Peter and the other disciple both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter, and arrived at the tomb first . . . Being younger than Peter, John arrives first on the scene once the women alert them.  A thousand possible scenarios surge through his brain. He tries to process them but he lets those thoughts go unprocessed. His only thought is to stand in that tomb to see for himself.  Yet he holds back, waiting for the panting Peter who goes into the tomb without pausing.  As the light curls across the morning sky Peter and John squint into the darkness, sensing, more than seeing, that Jesus is not there.  But if not here, then where?

Grave Clothes[1]They saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place . . . This peculiarity does not escape them and they try to make sense of what they see. They quickly speculate a number of reasons for this small detail but they do not want to be drawn away from the bigger question: where has Jesus gone?  They sense, more than know, that his message at the Thursday evening supper might just make sense.  Is this what Jesus meant when he said those confusing words?  If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.  Where does Jesus intend to take them?  Where are they to meet him so that they might go together?

Then the disciple who had arrived at the tomb first, saw and believed . . . They search one another’s faces then shift their gaze back to the cloths.  The winding-sheet folded carefully as if by an attendant, the face cloth neatly rolled nearby.  An image of the Christ pausing to lay the rolled cloth aside before he leaves the tomb begins to take shape in the disciple’s mind; slowly a knowing begins to form and John allows himself to smile as his eyes move from face to face, then back to the cloths.  Abruptly the first rays of morning light filter into the empty tomb and the apostle is seized by a mixture of joy and fear.

They did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead . . . They know not what is to come.  They know not where they will go.  They do not know how or when Jesus will return but a truth beings to form within just as the early dawn brings light into the empty quarry cave.  Jesus has not died.  Jesus lives.  Jesus has not abandoned them.  Jesus will return.

And in that flash of a moment they see and they believe.

Let us rise up with Easter joy as we examine the story before us.  Let us run to tell what we now know.  Let us say to anyone who will listen that we too, have seen.  And that we too, believe.


For an interesting reflection on the possible significance of the folded cloths, click on the image of the burial cloth above or visit: http://marcohara.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-linen-burial-cloth-of-jesus.html

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